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Drums In Hindustani Music

Drums play an important role in Hindustani music. The table is a pair of drums. The right-hand drum of the pair is known as dayan. It is made of Sheesham wood covered with a parchment, with a permanent black load at the center. Bayan, the left-hand drum is made of copper or clay and is also covered with parchment, the black load being slightly off-center. The covers are fastened with leather braces. Small cylindrical pieces of wood wedged between the braces and body of the table were moved to adjust the pitch. The pair is played with both hands and can produce innumerable intricate rhythmic patterns of high resonance.

Pakhawaj is a two-faced barrel drum and is the north Indian counterpart of the south Indian mridangam. It normally accompanies dhrupad and other classical vocal or instrumental music and dance.

Dholak, also known as dhola or nala, resembles a pakhavaj in shape and is used as an accompanying instrument for folk song and dance.

Nagara comprises two kettle drums of unequal size covered parchment and held by leather straps; sticks are used for striking. The larger drum is pitched lower than the smaller one, which can be tuned to the desired pitch by exposing the parchment to controlled heat. Popular all over the north-western state of Rajasthan, it accompanies the wind instrument of shehnai on festive occasions and community dances.

Percussion ensembles featuring both Carnatic and Hindustani artistes are becoming more and more popular both in India and abroad.